- ~1884 A.D.: Riptide and his six brothers are born on the planet Voltexi. Being the firsborn in a set of septuplets, he is the first in line to inherit the family fortune and import/export business.
- ~1900 A.D.: Riptide earns his adult name after a harrowing experience nearly ends with his death. One of his younger brothers is swept away in a strong ocean current and into the waiting wilderness, where he would surely be devoured. Riptide swoops in to rescue him, swimming against the current and delivering his brother to safety.
- ~1919 A.D.: Throughout the years, Riptide receives formal schooling and begins learning how to run the trade business, for when his father inevitably passes away and leaves it to him. He grows bored of them quickly, however, and decides instead that he will join the military. His father, though somewhat disappointed in his choice, approves. The second eldest brother becomes the new inheritor while Riptide goes to academy.
- ~1932 A.D.: Riptide integrates into the army swimmingly. Though wars among the various countries of his world are nigh unheard of, peacekeepers are still required to help stave off attacks by the dangerous wildlife roaming about. He sustains a multitude of injuries, resulting in heavy cybernetic augmentation.
- ~1944 A.D.: The new line of military cybernetics is designed and released. Riptide's body rejects the test implant. Unable to keep up to date with the newest hardware, he is honorably discharged from service and sent home. The young Voltexian, angry with the turn of events, and unwilling to return to a regular civilian life, decides to take to the stars.
- ~1945-2011 A.D.: Riptide boards one of the city-ships dotting his planet and signs himself on to a caravan, unaware that they are transporting illegal goods. When the local police force arrives to apprehend the lawbreakers, Riptide gets caught up in the firefight, resulting in his killing of a fair share of the officers. Now an outlaw on his own world, he has no choice but to leave posthaste, and never return on penalty of death. From there on out he takes contracts from whoever can afford him, drawing the line at explicit criminal behavior. His actions have earned him a bad reputation with most authority figures, and made him more than a few enemies. He is eventually shot down by one such foe, just as he's attempting a warp jump. He succeeds, but is thrown severely off course. He crash lands on Earth and is apprehended by UNTIL for questioning.
- 2012 A.D.: Riptide is finally released from his holding cell into the outside world, after having been assigned a handler and ordered to report in regularly with UNTIL. He operates mostly as a freelancer, helping the heroes of the world fight back supervillainous threats, and handling a few contracts when personally approached.
Planet Voltexi was once not too different from Earth, until a constant, never-ending storm flooded it in its entirety, long before Riptide's people evolved into what they are today. It is unknown exactly how many various civilizations might have inhabited the planet before this cataclysm, as archaeologists continue to turn up new ruins and artifacts from this long-lost age.
Modern-day Voltexians are evolved from a massive eel-like creature, though it shares characteristics with other sealife, sharks being the most obvious. They are as colorful as their ancestors, with skin tones ranging from deep purple to a ruddy green, with coloration usually serving as a sign of which portion of the world they're from. Their organ placement and skeletal structure, for the most part, is identical to a human's, with some minor variations and redundancies, the most radical difference being a series of gills along the neck and the lack of lungs, as well as a small 'electric organ'.
Riptide is from a section of Voltexi that, roughly translated, is known as the 'Deep Reef'. They all share his light green skin tone and dark green hair, and for the most part are even hard to tell from one another at a glance. The Deep Reef is the central trading hub of Voltexi, as most safe trade routes must pass through it at one point or another. As such, they've established a stranglehold on importing and exporting various goods, and share strong diplomatic relations with the other countries of the world.
One of the top trading companies in the Deep Reef is Ty'lori Imports and Exports, currently owned and operated by Riptide's father, just as it was operated by HIS father, and so on and so forth. Their booming business has earned Riptide's father a place on the Merchant's Council, the main governing body of the Deep Reef, making the bounty hunter the son of a fairly powerful man. Riptide's outlawing and subsequent escape from the planet has earned him a permanent expulsion from the family, however, removing him from the line of succession.
Appearance And Personality
Riptide stands at a solid 6'3", a bit taller than average for a Deep Reef Voltexi. He wears his dark green hair in a fashionably messy tussle on his head, and sports a goatee. While his right eye is a normally colored seafoam green, the other is very definitely a cybernetic replacement, a solid black with a brightly glowing ring serving as the 'iris'. Anyone who looks close enough can see a constant feed of data streaming in front of the 'pupil'. His skin is a light aquamarine, with a fine layer of slightly darker green scales covering his back and the outsides of his arms and legs. Stark white scars adorn his hairless body, either from wounds received in battle or from surgery for his cybernetic augmentations. He has a muscular frame augmented in some places by thick sub-dermal armor implants, making him bulkier in some places than others. A fine webbing extends between each of his fingers and toes, and a set of gills sits low on either side of his neck.
Allies And Enemies
Riptide has made many allies and enemies during his time in space, due to the nature of his work. Whilst he's in good enough standing to not be arrested on sight in most sectors, many others have interpreted his actions as unlawful, usually along the lines of open acts of aggression and premeditated murder. Since arriving on Earth, however, he's made new allies and new enemies, while a few old ones persist in their search for him...
Starwatch, under the command of R'haogo, is a small handful of individuals devoted to dealing with threats to Earth that originate in space. With R'haogo serving mostly as a coodrinator, Riptide has been appointed the field commander.
Aliona: Riptide's rather surprised R'haogo approached the Galactic Siren for a position on Starwatch, and even moreso that she accepted it. He never really took her for more than a diva, until she proved herself handy in a fight against a pack of Xenovores. He just hopes she doesn't end up getting herself killed.
Outrider: Riptide has a poor opinion of the space pirate, to put it lightly. The only thing keeping him from trying to claim the bounty on Outrider's head is the fact that, for now, they're both working on the same team, for a good cause. And, although he'd never admit it, he has a grudging respect for the space-born human's skills and resourcefulness.
Paradigm: Although he's not really spent enough time around her to form a real opinion on the superheroine, Riptide's fought alongside her enough times to admire her capabilities. He's certainly glad to have the extra muscle on the team, and the flexibility that comes with her energy projection is a nice bonus.
Paragon: The other major powerhouse of the team - in Riptide's opinion, you can never have too many. He has trouble thinking of her as more than a kid in over her head, though he does appreciate her cheery attitude. Maybe, eventually, he'll come to terms with the fact the kid dwarfs him completely.
R'haogo: The team's coordinator. He's another that Riptide has a grudging respect for, approving of the Star Marshall's attitude towards handling criminals, but since the bounty hunter finds himself toeing the line of the law more often than not, it tends to put them at odds. Still, he's more than willing to work with R'haogo... as long as there's something in it for the Voltexian.
Other heroes that Riptide has befriended after his arrival on Earth. While he's normally hesitant to open up to people, there are still quite a few that he considers a 'friend'.
All-Star: A good buddy of Riptide's. He genuinely enjoys Nate's company, even if ninety percent of their conversations involves some form of tossing insults and disparaging comments back and forth at each other. There aren't many people outside of Starwatch that Riptide would trust to have his back, but All-Star is one of them... even if Nate continues to entertain that foolish notion that bullets are better than lasers. He'll have to prove him wrong some day.
General Freedom: A former teammate in the Prometheus Union, affectionately dubbed 'Babyarms'. Riptide likes the stout brick, even if the General tends to grunt instead of laugh at most of his jokes. The bounty hunter has nothing but well-wishings for his old teammate, and is willing to lend a hand should General Freedom ever need it.
Greymist Wanderer: A fellow off-worlder, of Varekian heritage. Riptide hasn't socialized with her much, but he's got a good opinion of her all the same. Whilst he doesn't particularly approve of certain traits of hers, she has a good head on her shoulders, and that's the sort of attitude he can appreciate. Riptide knows it's just a matter of time before Virgil leaves Earth, and he's already sure the place will be a bit worse off for it.
Zelara: Riptide has a soft spot for the Anthari species, and that extends to Zelara as well. He's done her a favor or three, free of charge, for that exact reason. They've formed a fast friendship, with Riptide being particularly fond of the Anthari's cheery disposition despite the nature of her arrival on Earth, and finding her a joy to be around in general. She makes him feel all warm and fuzzy inside, though,
and he doesn't know how he feels about that and it turns out he's pretty okay with it after all.
Sparrowhawk: Riptide isn't one-hundred percent all about Sparrowhawk. While he doesn't question her fighting abilities, he finds her distant, aloof, and condescending attitude to be qualities unfit for a leader. He also believes that she takes her job far too seriously, which is a direct contrast to the far more laid back bounty hunter. Still, she hasn't done an awful job so far, so Riptide's still willing to work with her, and her team... as long as the money keeps coming in.
Dobergirl: Young and naive, Riptide envies Dobergirl's innocence, while at the same time looking down on it as the foolishness of a wet-behind-the-ears rookie. He's fond of teasing the sidekick-turned-hero, poking fun at the young woman's geekiness and optimistic outlook. She's also handy to have around when he's working on his ship and needs some heavy lifting done, which scores her a few extra points in his book.
Katsuo: Another person who Riptide thinks takes their job too seriously. Katsuo's stoic and anti-social, but most of the time his thoughts on how to deal with a situation lines up with Riptide's point of view - get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible, no matter what. While he doesn't exactly consider Katsuo a friend, Riptide's more than happy to call him an ally.
Powers And Abilities
Riptide lacks powers of any sort, as the Voltexi are incapable of developing superpowers. However, due to his heritage, he has natural abilities that set him apart from the humans. First and foremost is his ability to breathe underwater, via a set of gills located on his neck. Riptide is also immune to the effects of water pressure, and has an incredible resilience to extreme cold.
Riptide is also much stronger than the average human, due to spending a large portion of his life swimming in the tumultuous Voltexian seas. He is also somewhat more dense than a human, even before factoring in his cybernetic augmentations. His scales provide an additional small layer of protection wherever they are present, and he has excellent eyesight, allowing him to naturally see better in the dark.
Finally, Riptide's physiology is intended to help protect him from the deadly wildlife of his home planet. Since many of the creatures are poisonous to some degree, his people developed a resistance to the effects of their toxins. His immune system is also capable of quickly adapting to and combating new toxins and bacteria introduced to his body. As a result, he's rarely ill, though there are some chemicals that his body just can't deal with, the most notable being alcohol.
Skills and Equipment
Riptide mostly keeps pace with superhumans via the skills and equipment he's gathered over a few decades of wandering the stars. Unfortunately a fair share of his more dangerous weaponry was destroyed in the crash landing that left him stranded on Earth, but the firepower he's got left is more than capable of handling a wide range of threats.
- S-37 VSMR: Shorthand for Standard Variable Setting Military Rifle-37, the thirty-seventh variation of the Voltexi military's standard issue plasma rifle. Voltexian bio-electrical discharges are used to provide energy for a high-powered microwave chamber contained in the weapons central housing that draws in natural gases from the atmosphere, ionizes it, and discharges it in intensely hot bursts of plasma. It has multiple settings to adjust the lethality of the beam, as well as various modes of fire - it can operate as anything from a shotgun to a sub-machine gun to a sniper rifle. Like all Voltexi weapons, it also features an overcharge shot, which can vaporize most things in an approximate five foot radius at full power. It has been heavily modified to increase performance.
- S-13 RFHG: The Standard Rapid-Fire Handgun issued by the Voltexi military. It operates in a similar fashion to the VSMR, though on a much smaller scale. The barrel of the handgun rotates rapidly when the trigger is suppressed, resulting in a heavy spray of small plasma beams. While the accuracy falls off after a short range, the main intention of the weapon was to rip through any target that managed to survive long enough to get close, and it serves that purpose well. When overcharged, it fires a highly concentrated beam of white-hot energy. Like his VSMR, the RFHG has been heavily modified.
- Wrist-Mounted Slug Thrower: For when laser weaponry can't do the job, either due to dispersal fields or whatever else might be getting in the way. Built into Riptide's right wrist, the slug thrower shoots out superheated chunks of metal at high velocities. The weapon is rarely utilized, as it lacks a non-lethal setting, and few things on Earth so far have proven resistant to the much more flexible plasma weaponry.
- Wrist-Mounted Plasma Edge: Riptide's go-to melee weapon. Housed inside of his left arm, the blade extends out of his wrist, and measures in at roughly three and a half feet. It is forged from a light, durable alloy originating on Riptide's home planet, and specially treated to withstand extreme heat. Special coils housed within the blade allow for the introduction of AC currents that result in high-frequency resonance, damaging the bonds between materials at an atomic level. The edges of the blade emit a contained plasma field, toggled on and off at will, that can significantly increase the weapon's already-potent cutting ability.
- Integrated Beam Cannon: Riptide's last resort weapon. His left hand and forearm can reconfigure itself into a potent plasma beam cannon, which releases a devastating blast in a large area in front of him. It also leaves the Voltexian incredibly drained, to the point where if he's utilizing this weapon to its full effect, his body can only manage two shots before it overtaxes him and he passes out. Running the discharges on a lower setting allows him a few more shots, diminishing the exhaustive nature without completely negating it. Overuse tends to leave his left arm melted down to slag.
- Personalized Body Armor: A modified version of the standard issue Deep Reef military battle uniform. It's thicker and more heavily padded than the standard fair, featuring a heavy breastplate and neck guard that the original kit lacks. Even with the additions, however, it's still a light suit of armor, allowing for a wider range of movement. Large, thin plates of an alloy forged on his home planet combine with Voltexi bio-electrical discharges to form a sort of natural energy dispersion field which can negate a portion of incoming energy blasts, making them hurt a lot rather than outright killing him.
- Cybernetics: While not all of them are combat-oriented, a fair share of Riptide's cybernetics were willingly implanted to help him receive an edge in a fight. Both of his arms are cybernetic from just past the armpit down; his legs are the same way, being replaced from about mid-thigh down. Though he can 'feel' through them, the sensation is incredibly dulled, except for on the palms of his hands and his fingers. His left eye is also completely cybernetic and able to perform a wide variety of functions, including various types of optics, zoom, scanners, and wireless database access. Though the implants are mostly powered by bio-electrical charges, they are vulnerable to shorting out if a strong enough current is run through them.
- 'Caps': The final 'weapon' in Riptide's arsenal, 'caps' are small capsules about the size of a thumb that he keeps prepped on his belt at all times. When inserted in specially prepared slots on his various weapons, they supercharge the equipment, allowing for a devastating one-shot burst. So far, the bounty hunter has refused to provide any information on the capsules, such as where he acquired them or how exactly they work. Any questions concerning them are usually ignored.
- Riptide is a pescetarian. He can (and has) eaten regular meat on rare occasions of necessity, but he refuses to consume it otherwise.
- Riptide is incapable of properly processing alcohol, like all Voltexians. He is also deathly allergic to peanuts and peanut products.
- Riptide is a capable singer. Song is one of the most common fine arts on Voltexi, and there are few who haven't practiced singing to some degree.
- Riptide's hair commonly smells of Ocean Breeze shampoo. He thinks it's amusing, 'cos he's a dweeb.
Comments from Riptide's peers go here!
"Riptide is one of the few people on this planet who I can look at and say 'Yep, he's just as big an asshole as me.'" - All-Star
"An alright guy, kinda a joker. He knows how to grim up when it gets serious though an' I appreciate that." - General Freedom
"He's not a fish! He's an eeeeeel." - Impsblood
"I should get to know him better. I wonder if he has visited Atlantis? I think Riptide would enjoy it very much." - Wavegirl
"I don't know exactly what Riptide has done to earn his reputation with the sector authorities - and I don't think I really care much anymore. I already owe him more than I could possibly hope to repay." - Zelara
"Riptide is... very much about Riptide. Though I have to say he gets results on the missions I've had with him, which really is the most important thing at the end of the day." - Sparrowhawk
"Riptide is a good person. No matter what others would say about him. He's shown me a lot of kindness in recent times and I'm better for having met him and worked alongside him." - Doll
"All things considered, I suppose my ultimate opinion of him is that he's not all that bad. I wonder what people complain about." - Kaira
"The deadly laser fish! Or laser eel. Whatever. Rip's pretty cool for the most part, even if he does tease me. He also has a freaking awesome spaceship that he's letting me work on with him! How sweet is that?!" - Dobergirl
"He's good looking and kind of a man's man I would think. He really knows his stuff. I wish I knew more about his world and what kind of things he's been through." - African Violet